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Hillsborough Sheriff: Deputy fatally shoots man armed with knife

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Published Mar. 19

TAMPA — A deputy fatally shot a suicidal man who menaced him with a knife on Tuesday afternoon, said Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister.

The shooting took place just after 1:15 p.m. to 1903 Gregory Drive, near E Bearss Avenue. Deputy Kevin Stabins, 42, was dispatched to a residence to investigate a report of a suicidal person.

When the deputy encountered 52-year-old Jesus Calderon, the sheriff said he didn't realize Calderon was armed. When Calderon revealed he had a knife and started moving toward the deputy, Chronister said, the deputy didn't have time to use non-lethal methods to subdue the man.

"Because it was close proximity, No. 1, and No. 2 just no time," the sheriff said. "When the deputy first approached the subject and came in close proximity, he didn't see the knife until the subject jumped up and aggressively began displaying the knife, advancing toward the deputy."

The wounded man was taken to nearby AdventHealth Tampa hospital for medical treatment. Calderon was later pronounced dead there.

Neighbors said they heard three noises that sounded like gunshots. The sheriff did not say how many gunshots were fired.

This was the first time Stabins has used deadly force on the job, the sheriff said. Stabins was not injured, but he was "visibly" upset after the shooting. The deputy was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of the shooting, which is standard protocol.

Stabins has been on the force for 19 years. According to sheriff's disciplinary records, he received letters of reprimand for 2004 cases of failing to respond to a subpoena and being involved in an "avoidable" traffic crash. He was suspended five days for a 2006 complaint of using excessive or unnecessary force and failing to follow sheriff's procedures. He received another letter of reprimand for a 2012 case of failing to respond to a subpoena and a letter of counseling for another traffic incident in 2014.

Tuesday was the eighth time deputies have been called to the address since September 2018, the sheriff said. In each of the past seven visits, Calderon was taken into custody for mental health evaluation under the Baker Act, and each time he was attempting to harm himself and had a knife or a sharp object, the sheriff said.

Renee Avery, 59, who has lived across from Calderon's home for nearly a decade, said it is a quiet, tight-knit community — except for the emergency vehicles always visiting the home.

"Police are always here," Avery said. "Fire trucks are down here every day."

A portion of the road outside the home was closed off to traffic for several hours. And even three hours after the incident, neighbors and passersby looked on as sheriff's vehicles and forensic vans still flanked the driveway and yellow and green evidence markers remained still scattered outside.

"It's a sad day in Tampa," Avery said.

NEED HELP: If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, reach out to the 24–hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273–8255. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence at (800) 500–1119 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799–7233.

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